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10 #DidYouKnow Facts About Deaf Culture

Curious about Deaf culture? You've come to the right place! As a professional sign language interpreter who comes from 3 generations of deaf family members, I feel inspired to share the beauty of this silent world with others. Here are some interesting facts about being deaf in America. (And you can always find more on my Twitter feed!)

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1. #DidYouKnow:

People who are deaf can drive cars, make music, play sports, and earn a higher education. They can do everything hearing people can, they just do it a little differently.

2. #DidYouKnow:

Not every deaf person communicates the same way. Some prefer sign language; while others can speak for themselves and lip read. When in doubt, it's best to just ask.

3. #DidYouKnow

Those who identify as "Deaf with a capital D" consider themselves members of Deaf culture, which has it's own beautiful language, art, humor, and customs. Deafness is not limited by age, gender, religion, or race. The Deaf community is diverse and proud!

4. #DidYouKnow

American Sign Language (ASL) is considered a "foreign" language in the US, even though it was created right here! ASL is NOT simply a signed version of English, which is why we say it is "interpreted" and not "translated." ASL has it's own vocabulary, grammar and syntax. And-- just like spoken language-- there are even regional dialects!

5. #DidYouKnow

When using sign language to communicate, facial expressions, body, and head movements are crucial to delivering the full message.

6. #DidYouKnow

Via ASL Nook

All babies can begin using sign language to communicate their needs before they acquire verbal skills. Studies have shown that signing with your baby aids in cognitive development, and teaching sign language to non-deaf infants speeds up comprehension of spoken languages.

7. #DidYouKnow

CODA means Child Of Deaf Adult. CODAs are more likely than deaf children to acquire sign language from birth, since their parents probably use ASL already. Being a CODA absolutely does NOT make a person a qualified interpreter, although we often become accustomed to filling this role in our families.

8. #DidYouKnow

More than 70% of hearing parents who have deaf children do not use sign language with their children. This can sadly result in lowered self-esteem, delays in learning, and isolation-- since the deaf child is unable to communicate or express himself to the people who matter most.

9. #DidYouKnow:

There are more than 200 signed languages in use around the globe! Anywhere deaf people exist, non-verbal languages develop and evolve. In the United States, there are an estimated 48 million people with some degree of hearing loss, and 500,000 individuals who identify ASL as their primary language.

10. #DidYouKnow

Members of the Deaf community do not view themselves as impaired. Deaf people do not want to be "fixed" or "cured," because they love their language and are proud of their culture. If you want to learn more about the fascinating world of Deaf culture and ASL, please feel free to head over to my site!

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